DNA shows no trace of contact between ancient Easter Islanders and South America

From ABC Science, Friday 13 October 2017:

Mystery and intrigue surrounds the life and times of people who created the famous Moai statues on Rapa Nui off the coast of Chile — and a new study suggests they were more isolated than previously thought.

While it is widely accepted that the remote island, dubbed Easter Island by Dutch explorers, was first settled by Polynesians before 1200 AD, scientists have long debated about what happened next.

One of the big questions is whether or not the early islanders had any contact with Indigenous South Americans.

A 2014 DNA study of present-day Rapa Nui and archaeological evidence from sweet potato crops suggested the islanders mixed with native Americans before Europeans arrived in 1722 AD.

But now a new study of ancient DNA, published in the journal Current Biology, indicates the two groups did not intermingle at all before European settlement. Read more.

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